Friday, September 14, 2007

Outpourings of Love

I was driving through Midland this morning, and happened upon quite a sight. At one of the local supermarket parking lots, all five local law enforcement factions were out with buckets. Cumulus radio stations and other media were everywhere. The Texas Dept. of Safety's helicopter was on site. The officers and media were raising money for the benevolent fund benefiting the families of the three recently slain officers, Cpl. Arlie Jones, Cpl. Scott Gardner, and Cpl. Abel Marquez. Officers from the Odessa and Midland Police Departments, Odessa and Midland Sheriff’s Offices, and the Texas Highway Patrol were present. All of them working together - what a beautiful thing to see. (Of course, I see it every year, at the ConocoPhillips Halliburton Bad Boy Blast shoot, but it's still awesome.)

I pulled in to the parking lot. People were everywhere, and the local radio stations had their advertising tents out and were broadcasting the fundraiser live from the street. One of my “Bad Boy Blast” OPD officers ran over to me, yanked open my door, pulled me out of the vehicle, and wrapped me in a bear hug. A "Bad Boy Blast" MPD officer comes up, and joins our embrace. Tears flow. My heart breaks for them - their pain and loss is such a huge and gaping wound right now.

This senseless tragedy has affected many in our local community. Though there is much pain and grieving, it is also good to see the golden threads of love and support being woven throughout the tapestry, pulling all the people together as one – not only the law enforcement agencies, but both general communities of Midland and Odessa. And it is right that it be so.

The fundraiser started around 6 a.m. this morning. When I left at 12:15pm, the total raised today had risen over $52,000.00 towards the fund, and the amount was still climbing. That’s just Midland alone, not counting what Odessa has generated(which in itself is a very substantial amount).

And there is a plethora of fundraising going on. For one example, both Odessa and Midland McAlisters’ delis are donating all the proceeds from one entire day to the fallen officers' benevolent fund. That is an amazingly generous action for a business. And if I know our community, there will be a huge amount of benevolence that happens behind the scenes, without any fanfare.

The outpouring is amazing – of resources, prayer, and love. Make no mistake, these brave men will never be replaced, on the force, or at home; however, the show of community support could pave a portion of the road towards the healing everyone needs. And speaking of needs, the grieving families left behind will need not only emotional, but financial support - their wives will be in financial need, and their kiddos will need housing, food and clothing. There will be medical, school, and college expenses - and this community plans to make it happen for them. This community is determined to honor these men who protected and served us - I can feel it in the air, it's that strong.

I am honored to be part of this place we call the Permian Basin.

(Donations can be sent to the OPD Benevolence Fund Acct No. 9002668, c/o Odessa Employees Credit Union, 1006 E. Seventh St., Odessa, Texas 79761. For more information, call 432-333-2510.)


Karen said...

I love this post. Surely speaks volumes of what fine men they were, for so many to come together to help. I love it when a community pulls together.

Tricia said...

I got about halfway through your post when I started thinking, "I need to ask Janie if there's an address where those of us who no longer have the convenience of proximity can send something." And lo and behold, there it is! Thanks for adding that. I'm gonna have to take a look at the ol' budget to finagle something, but well worth it my book.

This West Texan's heart is shattered, even all the way up in Michigan. :*-(

Rach said...

That is awesome the way that the community has come together. It's nice to see repect for the people who are willing to give their lives to protect us!

Sandy Kessler said...

fantastic inspiring- last year our officer Sottile was killed by a former student no less., traffic stop , high. They erected a plaque but no help to a family of 4 . I believe the sheriffs dept did begin a scholarship in his name . I was only a \few yards from where he was shot on the highway and remember the onslaught of assault rifles etc as they searched for the 2 in the groves. I was 3 hours late for an appointment and always felt so sad that I was so close when his life force slipped away. You all should be soo proud of a bond of people who do so much good.The hurt is so big

Janie said...

Karen - it is a great community.

Tricia - thanks, girl, everything will be appreciated!

Rach - it is awesome, how everyone is pulling together.

Sandy - I am definitely blessed to live amongst these great people. And the people are what make it great.